Unprepared DTV Homes Fell 24% Last Month

Mar 5, 2009  •  Post A Comment

The number of U.S. households that wouldn’t receive any programming once domestic broadcasts switch to digital from analog fell 24% last month as more people prepared for the original Feb. 17 switchover deadline, Nielsen said today.
As of March 1, about 4.5 million homes, or 3.9% of U.S. households, were unprepared for the switchover, down from 5.1% from a month earlier, according to Nielsen. Almost 7% of U.S. households were unprepared at the beginning of this year.
Last year, the U.S. Commerce Department launched a program to give unprepared households $40 coupons that could be applied toward set-top boxes that convert digital signals to analog; it has spent almost $1.5 billion sending out 49 million coupons. Still, Congress on Feb. 4 bumped back the switchover date to June 12 to accommodate both the millions of households that would have lost programming and the TV stations that didn’t have the required equipment for the switchover.
Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M., is the least-prepared U.S. metropolitan area for the switchover, with 10% of those households losing all programming with all-digital broadcasts, Nielsen said today.

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